My life has fallen at a hateful time. I have come into the world either too early or too late. Now, I do not feel comfortable; earlier, I should have enjoyed the time; later, I should have helped to build it up again; today I have to give my life to prop up this mouldering edifice. I should have been born in 1900, and I should have had the twentieth century before me.Metternich played a huge role in restoring royal and aristocratic power in Europe after the defeat of Napoleon, but he always felt that the regimes he was defending were not really worthy of his efforts. He liked to imagine living in the past, when kings could rule without repression and secret police, or in a future in which the conflict of revolution vs. reaction had somehow faded way and been replaced by a better, more peaceful world. Sadly being born in 1900 would not have gotten him there.
– Clemens von Metternich, 1820
Saturday, February 22, 2020
Born at the Wrong Time
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He liked to imagine living in the past, when kings could rule without repression and secret police...
When was that, I wonder?
Kings have always employed repression and crown agents to maintain control - even if sometimes those agents operated openly rather than secretly. What meaningful difference is there between untouchable "secret police" with sweeping authority, and feudal vassal and retainers enjoying effectively the same protections and powers?
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